Day trips to the lake in Minnesota might be our greatest pastime. Head 40 minutes west to Waconia, MN and you’ll find not only a lake, but a badass burger. Drop your pin on a place called Hoppers Bar & Grill. No fish stories here—the Hickory Burger is a behemoth. This muskellunge sized burger is of a traditional grind, most likely chuck around an 80/20 clip. It’s seasoned nicely with the basics but there’s something sweet in the mix—just a hint or a touch, if you will. The patty is all hand with a loose pack rendering a wonderful texture and chew. It conjures up the feeling of lawn chairs on a pontoon. Meat wads gone wild! If that ain’t country it’ll harelip the Monopoly Man himself (Waconia replaced Baltic Avenue on “Monopoly Here & Now”)! The bun is soft and holds this sandwich in check. Oh my my my, the hickory smoked bacon with a little BBQ sauce is a reason to smile for weeks. Topped off with cheddar cheese and you’ve got yourself a burger worth taking a picture of. Much like that prize catch back in 98′. But this time you’ll have proof!

Scorecard:   Flavor: 8.8   Presentation: 5   Originality: 6

Hoppers Bar & Grill, 119 Olive St, Waconia; hoppersbar.com